Spenser's Secret Career

Overview

Edmund Spenser (c.1552-99) conducted two careers at once: a celebrated poet, he also pursued a lifelong career as secretary to various political and ecclesiastical figures. Richard Rambuss's ground-breaking book explores the ways in which this latter profession informed his poetic career. It argues that for Spenser, the manipulation of secrets provided a strategy for self-promotion and a means of measuring his distance from royal and aristocratic power. The study presents a new picture of Spenser and examines ...

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Overview

Edmund Spenser (c.1552-99) conducted two careers at once: a celebrated poet, he also pursued a lifelong career as secretary to various political and ecclesiastical figures. Richard Rambuss's ground-breaking book explores the ways in which this latter profession informed his poetic career. It argues that for Spenser, the manipulation of secrets provided a strategy for self-promotion and a means of measuring his distance from royal and aristocratic power. The study presents a new picture of Spenser and examines ideas of gender, power, and subjecthood in the Renaissance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is to be valued especially for pointing the way to a more nuanced engagement with...Spencer's poems." Modern Philology

"...one of the more exciting of recent books on Spenser; and, remarkably, for such a stylish study, it is a model of argumentative and stylistic lucidity." P. Cullen, Choice

"Spenser's Secret Career is an excellent test case for the value of 'narrow' literary biography—that is, a work that accounts for a writer's career in terms of a single theme or preoccupation....Rambuss is a good close reader and a perceptive analyst of cultural context....we should welcome this book...for the distinctive illumination it provides." Sixteenth-Century Journal

"Rambuss's study enhances the critical repertoire by providing a well-written and often rewarding introduction to its subject. His analysis also provides further evidence that Spenser's command of poetic means of secrecy empowers his texts to depart from political orthodoxies....Rambuss's study clarifies some broader difficulties current in much New Historicism." Kenneth Boris, Dalhousie Review

"...an elegant and painstaking reading...one of the most well-constructed readings of its kind..." Nigel Smith, Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Professional secrets; 2. The secretary's study: the secret designs of The Shepheardes Calender; 3. 'In sundrie hands': the 1590 Faerie Queene and Spenser's Complaints; 4. Secret sights, private parts: the 1596 Faerie Queene; Notes; List of works cited; Index.

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